21st September 2014

Walk 1 - A Wasdale Horseshoe


Walk Overview
Time 8:30 to 12pm
Duration 3 hr 30 min
Distance 6.2 mile
Ascent 1200 ft
Walking with Jennifer and Rod Hepplewhite
A6 Shap road summit - Whatshaw Common - Little Yarlside - Great Yarlside - Wasdale Pike - Wasdale Head Farm - A6 Shap road summit
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside Parking, A6 Shap road summit

It goes without saying that this is not the most popular area for people walking in the Lake District. The fells around here are made up of wide open, grassy moorland which make for wonderful days of seclusion.
The parking spot here is just a really long lay-by found at the highest point on the main A6 road between Shap and Kendal. You'd have to be extremely unlucky to find this place full.

Route Map


A short while ago I was asked by Rod if I'd like to join him for two walks in this area; both on the same day. "Yes, great" I thought to myself "but given the areas reputation for sogginess I hoped the extended dry conditions wouldn't end before we do the walks". Well, I needn't have given it a second thought because the rains have kept away and as the picture shows, conditions were perfect this morning.

September is marching along and as Autumn sets in, the mornings are much cooler than they were only a couple of weeks ago. Because of this change, Jennifer adjusts her walking gear and begins to include a hat and gloves when we're getting ready for a walk. They didn't stay on for long, but it's still better to carry them because you're too warm than to wish you'd brought them because you're too cold.

This picture sort of sets the scene for a day in the far eastern Lake District moorland. Admittedly this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but all three of us commented at some point at just how peaceful it was. Speaking for myself this is by far my favourite type of terrain.


That's the three of us looking across to Little Yarlside and Great Yarlside.


Here's a long distance view through Wasdale. I would point out where Great Gable and Lingmell are but they're found in t'other Wasdale not this one.

Heading up Little Yarlside.

And once we reach the top, we look across towards Great Yarlside. Over on the side of Great Yarlside we spot a lone walker on the opposite side of the wall. He was the only person we saw on this walk and the first of only three other walkers we passed all day (including the next walk).


Wasdale Pike summit.

Careful where you put your feet, , , , , I don't mean because of the fungi, I mean the stuff it's growing in!

From Wasdale Pike we head down to the ruined farm at Wasdale Head. Needless to say there were less people here today than there would have been at the other Wasdale Head.

We couldn't resist a look around the ruins and although what was left of the buildings was actually quite sturdy, and the setting was fantastic, we could well understand why the place was abandoned.



What we didn't expect to find was this pigeon loft.


This seems to have been the farm house itself.

The roof may have fallen in but some of the roof tiles are still firmly in place.

Time to leave the farm now and head back up to the cars.


Much of the route from Wasdale Pike was done off path and anyone who has walked a couple of miles through tussocky grass like this will appreciate just how tiring it gets.

Power transportation.
The cars are parked just up the road and we now have to decide how to proceed with the rest of the day. Drive to the start point for the next walk and have something to eat there, or eat here and then drive. As the sun was out it sort of made sense to eat first. While we were there I made some remark about it being quite a few years since we'd sat on chairs next to the car having a picnic. Despite us sitting next to a main road we were actually at an altitude higher than the top of Helm Crag.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks